How Much Do You Really Know About Tequila?

"The first time I ever tried a high-quality sipping tequila, I was shocked at the flavour. Everything I thought I knew about tequila changed with that first sip."

This is how Brian von Richter, Spirits Category Manager at ANBL describes one of his first tequila tastings. It’s an experience he remembers very well and it’s one that he recalls every time he watches someone who ‘doesn’t like tequila’ take their first sip of a sipping tequila.

“Everyone loves to hate tequila - until they don’t,” he says. “If someone thinks they don’t enjoy the taste of tequila, it’s probably just because they haven’t found one they like yet.”

So what’s the world of tequila all about? Why are the flavours so vast and the liquid so versatile? From sipping tequilas to tequilas best for mixing in cocktails, from white to gold in colour, and what does ‘añejo’ even mean anyway?

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, read on, amigo. We’ve got your answers.

Think you already know everything there is to know about tequila? You might just be surprised to learn there is so much more to discover than you even realize.

Let’s dive in.

The first thing you need to know is that tequila
is an agave-based spirit

There are two types of agave-based spirits available: tequila and mezcal. Mezcal is made from various types and species of agave. Tequila is made only with blue agave.

What are the two main types of tequila formulations?

Mixto Tequila -- which are required to be made from 51% Blue Agave sugars. The other 49% can be made from other kinds of sugars (like cane sugar, for example).

100% Blue Agave Tequila -- these are tequilas made entirely from Blue Agave sugars.

What types of tequila are there?

Tequila Plata (silver, white, blanco) -– These tequilas are clear in colour (but don’t confuse them with Cristalino which is a type of añejo tequila, more on those below) and have not gone through the aging process. The agave flavours are usually the most noticeable in this type of tequila because they aren’t aged and therefore don’t adopt any of the flavours that tequila will take on throughout the aging process. These tequilas are great for mixing in cocktails because they stand up really well to other spirits and mixes.

Reposado -– The term ‘reposado’ means rested. For a tequila to be classified as Reposado, it means it must be aged for a minimum of two months. As a result of the aging, it tends to take on additional flavours from the barrels and can vary in taste depending on where the tequila was stored and the type of barrel it was stored in during the aging process.

Añejo -– These are tequilas that have been aged for at least one year and are often much deeper in colour as a result. Also, much like reposado, añejo tequila will adopt the flavours of the barrels they were aged in and can vary based on storage. For example, añejo tequila that has been aged in bourbon barrels will often contain flavours of vanilla and smoke or even caramel.

You will also find Extra Añejo -– Tequilas which are required to be aged for minimum of three years which further deepens the flavours and colours of this aged tequila. The flavours in these tequilas are broad and complex and ideal for sipping, much like a scotch or bourbon.

Cristalino -– This is añejo tequila that has gone through a filtration process to have the colour caused by the aging process removed. The filtration process can also remove some of the woodier flavour notes from the tequila but it preserves all the complexity of the tequila itself.

Not Quite Ready For Sipping Tequila?

Here are some options to get you started with exploring tequila:

“For the tequila newcomer, there are so many entry points to tequila that are tequila-forward but provide a natural entry point to a person who isn't used to sipping spirits neat or on ice,” says Brian.

From frozen margaritas to trendy tequila-based cocktails, to palomas to tequila old fashioneds, there’s an exploratory path for those who want to explore the world of tequila.

“Whether it’s mixtos or 100% agave, all are great to explore in mixed cocktails,” Brian says. “And for the mid-level tequila drinker, there is a wide breadth of product offerings to explore, too.”

ANBL has a wide range of tequilas to discover and taste, especially when it comes to premium.

“You can get incredible ultra-premium tequilas that are still quite accessible to many budgets. We have plenty of affordable options on our shelves to explore.”

Looking for your favourite celebrity-endorsed bottle?

Tequila seems to be a well-endorsed product by celebrities. Curious to taste tequila by George Clooney (Casamigos), Nick Jonas (Villa One) or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (Teremana)? You’re in luck - ANBL carries them all.

As ANBL’s Spirits Category Manager, Brian and his team have the privilege of working with tequila vendors all over the continent. “Tequila has been and continues to be the fastest growing spirits subcategory in North America,” he says. “The growth percentage of tequila is 4-5x faster than the rest of its spirits counterparts in the category. Tequila in New Brunswick is a small part of the pie overall, but we have seen exponential growth in the last 5 years, and we look forward to seeing what the category will have to offer as the trend continues to grow.”

Here are just some of the tequilas in ANBL stores to get you started on your tequila-tasting journey. And to explore our full product line of tequila, look for them on our shelves or ask one of our Product Advisors for a customized recommendation next time you visit us.


Tequila Mixto

Tequila Blanco

Tequila Reposado

Tequila Anejo

Tequila Cristalino